One decision I’ve been toying with for a while is whether I should free up the content on this site with a license agreement. I decided to go with an extremely open license that allows you to pretty much do whatever you want with this site’s content.
You are free:
* to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
* to make derivative works
* to make commercial use of the work
Under the following conditions:
Attribution. You must give the original author credit.
* For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.
* Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the author.
What exactly does this mean? Basically that you can steal every photo from this site, print any article I’ve written in a magazine, record my songs and sell them on CD, and a number of other things, without having to pay me a dime. The only requirement is that the work, or derivative works, must credit me as the original author. This might be a dumb decision, but it’s something I’ve thought a about a lot. There are a few possibilities of what could happen to me as a result of the work I do on this site.
- Some big company could see value in what I do and pay me to create content for them
- I go through life making things (programs, music, writings) freely available, but with restricted copyright and nothing major ever happens
- I give up copyright control over my work and someone uses it to make big $$$
- I give up copyright control over my work and nothing major ever happens
Financially, number 1 is the ideal outcome for me, but it’s obvious to everyone that it’s also the least likely. Also, I’ve read horror stories of bands who put out successful albums, but still went into debt with their record company. Number 2 and number 4 are the most likely to happen, and wouldn’t affect me much one way or the other. Number 3 is not as likely as 2 and 4, but still more likely than 1. Some might think 2 is preferrable to 3, but I disagree. If someone made a work of mine famous, that would certainly help me out even if I had no legal grounds to get compensation for that work. I still retain the ability to record, release, and make money off the famous work. Also, the fact that the work is now famous gives me a nice reference point for getting compensated for fully copyrighted works I might create in the future.
So from now on, any artist (local or national) can record the songs available on this site for their own CDs without having to worry about me suing them. I can’t. Steal away!